Mirror of Zen Blog

The State of Our Projection

When this pandemic started, there were perhaps 500 people subscribed to this YouTube channel. There was no special effort to do anything with it (and that’s mostly true today). It was just a place where we parked Dharma stuff that had some value for sharing, and then there began to appear various videos of me teaching. Stuff done in Korea over the years got gathered there.

Yet due to the lockdown, the channel bloomed in 2 years into this 5,000+ subscribers.

It doesn’t really mean anything to our work here. The daily life here, as in any temple, is centred around twice-daily practice, 365 days a year. There is a daily silent meal at lunchtime, because that is the only time of the day that the Buddha ate.

We still feel especially happy to provide a supportive twice-daily chanting and sitting meditation practice on this channel. People attend from all over the world. The number of videos and views, the whole all-in on the algorithmic functioning of “viral” videos is just not where we have ever wanted to be, as some sort of goal or “relevance”. If something seems worthwhile for helping practice, it can be edited and put out online. But there is no “production-for-production-sake” video here. We are trying to stay away from fluff and fodder, and will not do gimmicky stuff. It’s just not in my spiritual DNA, anyway, to put out catchy or trendy material. And things are never very politically correct here — we just try to express things as Ralph Waldo Emerson: “I ought to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways” (“Self-Reliance”).

Anyway, coming in to check something on our livestream broadcast tonight of the evening practice, these factoids on our YouTube channel banner caught my eye: Passing the bridge of 5,000 subscribers, I do only hope this doesn’t become yet another bronco that gets wildly out of control, as happened with the unexpected “fame years” I experienced in Korea beginning in 1998.

Thank you for tolerating our messaging.

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